Hotels face various challenges when it comes to human resources. Many of the jobs available offer low pay, little security, antisocial working hours, and limited potential for enjoyment and job satisfaction. As a result, turnover can be high – people are unlikely to stick around in a boring dead-end role if something better comes up.

One way to get around this is to provide staff with an opportunity to develop their skills, experience different roles within the hotel, and perhaps work their way upwards into a position of responsibility, where the work is more varied and interesting, their pay is improved, and they feel that they have a stake in the running of the business.

What do we do, though, when these people – who have shown themselves to be capable, reliable and effective – also want to move on to bigger and better opportunities? How do we keep hold of the people who are simply good at their jobs?

It isn’t difficult to identify the people we want to keep. First of all, we have to be realistic; the girl who does a great part-time job in the restaurant while she’s completing her law degree isn’t going to stick around for the long term. But staff who have settled lives, with homes and families in the area, are much more likely to stay with you for years.

One way to keep hold of good people is therefore to identify the kind of people who will be content with the kind of opportunity you can offer. One such category would be older staff, who are often overlooked by employers and who can find it difficult to switch jobs in the way that younger people so often do. Older people may be looking for a secure position near their home, and are often less ambitious in terms of thinking about career development. Maybe their hotel role would be a second career – one where the pressure to reach the top has been replaced by a desire to play a useful role where they can use their skills in a secure environment.

If you want stability in your hotel, look for staff who already have stability in their lives.

The other kind of people you might want to try to employ are those who may not necessarily have the best qualifications, but who do have the right personality and a willingness to learn on the job. Loyal employees are made, rather than found, and if you can give someone an opportunity to succeed which they might not otherwise have had, they are more likely to remember your support and be less likely to seek out more exciting alternatives with other employers or in other fields.

If you start your drive to keep good people by finding the right people in the first place, your task will become much easier. Some employees are destined to move on no matter what you do, but with the right people in your organization, the commonly suggested strategies of improving worker satisfaction levels can actually be beneficial; if you have people who basically want to stay, any reason you give them which validates this desire will help you to meet your staffing goals. If instead you have the wrong people, no amount of strategic grovelling will make a difference.